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Americas

Deadly campus shooting at Seattle university

© Seattle Pacific University

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-06-06

A lone gunman killed one person and injured three others on a Seattle college campus on Thursday, police said, as witnesses described their fear and the bloody aftermath.

The gunman opened fire at Seattle Pacific University before a student subdued him with pepper spray as he tried to reload, police said.

The attacker killed a man in his 20s and left a 20-year-old woman critically injured. He also wounded two others before he was disarmed by the student building monitor and held by several other students until police arrived.

"Police have one suspect in custody, an adult male who was subdued after being pepper-sprayed by a student security guard," a police statement said.

The Seattle Times said on its website that previous reports of a second suspect had been dismissed by police.

About 4,270 students attend the private Christian university, which was founded in 1891 by the Free Methodist Church of North America. Its 40-acre (16-hectare) campus is in a residential neighbourhood about 10 minutes from downtown Seattle.

“We were pretty much freaking out,” student Jillian Smith, 20, told AP. “People were texting family and friends, making sure everyone was okay.” Smith was taking a maths test when a lockdown was ordered. She heard police shouting and banging on doors in the hallway. The professor locked the classroom door, she said, and the 20 or so students lined up on the floor for 45 minutes before police came and escorted them out of the building. On the way, they passed the lobby where she saw bullet casings and what appeared to be blood in the lobby carpet and splatter on the wall.

“Seeing blood made it real,” Smith said. “I didn’t think something like this would happen at our school."

Spate of school shootings

The shooting came less than two weeks after a mentally unstable 22-year-old opened fire at a campus in Santa Barbara, California, killing six people before turning the gun on himself.

School shootings have become a tragic sporadic occurrence in the United States in recent years.

They include the December 2012 massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, which left 20 young children dead, and the Virginia Tech college shooting in April 2007, in which 33 people died, including the lone gunman.

In 2012, seven people were killed and three injured when a 43-year-old former student opened fire at a tiny Christian school, Oikos University, in Oakland, California.

In 2008, a gunman killed five people and injured 18 when he opened fire in an Illinois University lecture hall.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)

Date created : 2014-06-06

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